Nigeria loses 30% crude oil to theft daily – Speaker

Speaker, Rep Abbas Tajudeen

…N16trn lost from 2000-2020

By Tom Okpe

Speaker of House of Representatives, Rep. Tajudeen Abbas has revealed that Nigeria loses between five per cent to 30 per cent of its crude oil production on a daily basis.

Crude oil theft, he noted, has drastically hampered the growth of Nigeria’s oil production.

Abbas also said the country lost about $46 billion (N16.25 trillion) to crude oil theft between 2009 and 2020.

The Speaker, who made these revelations at the National Assembly yesterday while inaugurating an Adhoc Committee to investigate crude oil theft and loss of revenue; said: “Menace of crude oil theft has drastically hampered growth of the country’s oil production, with the country, losing heavily.”

He expressed shock that critical agencies in the oil and gas sector such as the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL); Nigeria Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission, and Ministry of Petroleum Resources, among others, failed to honour the invitation of the committee.

Abbas said heads of the agencies are not doing the nation any good by refusing to appear before Parliament to answer questions on the critical aspect of the economy.

Represented by Chairman, House Committee on Petroleum Upstream, Rep. Alhassan Ado Doguwa, the Speaker said if decisive action was not taken to address the issues of oil theft and accountability, the country may be thrown into a deeper fiscal crisis due to dwindling revenue from the oil and gas sector.

He said: “It is reported that Nigeria loses between 5% – 30% of its crude oil production on a daily basis.

“Data from the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), stated that Nigeria’s oil production declined from 2.51 million barrels per day in 2005 to 1.77 million barrels per day in 2020.

“NEITI reports also show that 619 million barrels of crude, valued at $46 billion were stolen in the period 2009-2020.

“Nigeria has continually failed to meet its daily production quota as set by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).”

Abbas added that “recently, Nigeria’s OPEC quota was reduced from 1.742 million barrels per day to 1.38 million barrels per day, yet the country is still struggling to meet this quota as daily production output was 1.184 million barrels per day and 1.249 million barrels per day in May and June 2023, respectively.

“On average, current daily production output is a far cry from the budget assumption of 1.69 million per day. The implication is clearly manifest in the economic crisis that the country is facing.”

Acknowledging that the nation faces a major fiscal crisis, the Speaker noted that global recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine continued to cast a cloud of uncertainty on the oil and gas industry in the country.

“While the average international price for Brent crude oil has hovered slightly above the set benchmark price since January, Nigeria’s daily oil production has performed poorly due to a number of reasons.

“It is common knowledge that investment in the oil and gas sector has declined in the past few years owing to global financing constraints and the overall response to energy transition considerations.

“However, we must agree that the greatest challenge to optimizing crude oil production in Nigeria is the grand scale oil theft that has plagued the sector for the past two decades,” Abbas stated.

He said the House is aware of several efforts by past administrations to address the menace of crude oil theft with a number of task forces, special committees, and investigative panels set up, each with wide range of findings and recommendations.

“NEITI provides yearly updates on the amount of crude oil stolen or lost through sabotage, yet the menace of oil theft has continued unabated, despite enormous resources already committed to addressing it,” he noted.

In his remarks, Chairman of the Committee, Rep. Doguwa noted that the volume of losses occasioned by oil theft in the country and the associated impact on the economy are completely unacceptable and cannot be tolerated by any government that sincerely loves its citizens.

He said: “The way and manner this act of sabotage and breach on our national security and sovereignty is carried out daily, makes a caricature of our pride as a nation and even a mockery of the acclaimed status of our Armed Forces.

“It is an affront to government and its institutions, which must be tackled without further delay.

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“It is in the light of these that the House constituted this committee, determined to bring this ugly trend to an end; otherwise there may be no future for our remaining children who have not yet travelled to other countries in search of survival.

“To members of the Armed Forces and security agencies, all Nigerians in various states, host communities and even in the diaspora who are involved in this practice, I challenge you all to have a rethink.

“We have no other country to call our own, let us therefore not push this madness to a point of no return where we may find nowhere to hide.”

Also speaking, a representative of the Nigeria Police Force, Alabi Abiodun, said the police authorities have put in place a task force to assist other security agencies in arresting those attacking oil facilities.

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